Atlanta Founder Story: Candace Mitchell Harris, Founder of Myavana

Startup Atlanta
5 min readApr 7, 2022

Technology is changing the face of beauty. Candace Mitchell Harris noticed this emerging opportunity at the intersection of these industries and is building Myavana, a beauty technology company that uses artificial intelligence to recommend the best products for your individual hair type. Keep reading to find out how she got started, how she pivoted from a hair journey company to a hair analysis company, and how you can support her along her journey of revolutionizing the hair industry with technology. #AtlantaFounderStories

Meet Candace Mitchell Harris

Harris grew up in Stone Mountain, Georgia and she started programming in high school where she took on developing websites for people as her first business. After graduating from high school, she decided to go to Georgia Institute of Technology where she majored in Computer Science to build on her professional skills. Candace remembers her experience at Georgia Tech as one she would not “trade for the world,” as she reflected on a pivotal moment with College of Computing Distinguished Professor Merrick Furst that helped boost entrepreneurial aptitude:

One day after struggling in my classes, I realized I needed to connect my skills to something that I’m passionate about. [Professor Furst] had a huge impact on my entrepreneurial career. Not only was he my professor — a very tough professor, I have to add — he really opened my eyes to how to start a business and how to fulfill the needs of your customer.

I remember after a conversation we had, I decided to quit my job in corporate America and pursue entrepreneurship full-time.

This inspiration also helped Candace as she found ways to connect her skills to something that she is passionate about while solving a problem that she closely identified with. She reflected on this experience and how it led her to creating Myavana:

At the same time, I started thinking about my hair and how much it was starting to change while going natural. I was having a hard time trying to figure out which products are best to use for my particular hair type and texture, so I started researching the science of hair and decided to build a solution for this product. I entered the InVenture Prize @ Georgia Tech to pitch my idea and the rest is history! I started Myavana 1 year after graduating.

Building a Technology Driven Beauty Brand

Candace started Myavana in the summer of 2012 and she shared that the company made a pivot from an initial idea which was a hair journey platform to a hair analysis product once her team finished the research and development at Georgia Tech.

The hair journey platform was amazing, but we weren’t making any money. Our hair analysis product helped us establish a profitable business model so we added the social component of sharing your hair journey to that customer experience.

She worked with her team to build the first minimum viable product (MVP) and debuted it at the Bronner Brothers Hair Show where she was able to conduct customer discovery, interviewing over 1,000 women about their hair care needs. She launched an app a year later along with a hair analysis product that has been growing ever since. Candace and the Myavana team have also filed a patent which covers the intellectual property of personalized hair care and the proprietary systems that her team has formed to scale the business. As her team continues to iterate on the platform, Myavana has been building buzz in the press with assistance from a star-studded list of brand ambassadors. Harris describes how she leveraged this attention to build organic traction that helped set her company up for success:

Most of our customers have come through press features and national TV spotlights. I have done accelerator programs that were significant for our development as a company like Flashpoint and DreamIt Ventures. I have gained lots of coaching and advising from many beauty and tech executives in the industry. I wasn’t successful in raising traditional VC in the beginning, but angel investors like Mike Ross, Harvey Adams, and Laron Walker have been instrumental in helping fund our business growth. We later received investments from and Resilient Ventures.

Our greatest development has been incorporating AI technology and machine learning to identify hair types and textures from an image of your hair and have integrated that into our mobile app. We are now preparing to launch our technology with Unilever, the largest product manufacturer in the beauty and personal care industry.

Breaking into the Beauty Industry

Some notable milestones that Candace shared include joining the Sephora Accelerate fellows program, which gave her team access to beauty industry experts that they never had before. Additionally, the team at Myavana has established a partnership with Essence and has had a recurring activation at Essence Festival for four years which has brought in a significant amount of customers. Additionally, Candace shared that her company has landed a global partnership with Unilever who will be licensing Myavana’s hair analysis technology on to offer personalized hair product recommendations to their customers globally.

As the Myavana team continues to grow with an upcoming community round of equity crowdfunding, Harris describes how she looks forward to giving back to several social causes that are close to her team.

I am looking forward to fully integrating our technology across the entire hair industry ecosystem of product manufacturers, salons, retailers, and more to come. We are also looking forward to the social impact that we will have in our markets as a Black women-led tech company who supports new careers in the STEM fields.

If you are interested in connecting with Candace and learning more about Myavana and their upcoming round of equity crowdfunding, you can join her contact list here.

Thanks for sharing your #AtlantaFounderStory, Candace! Visit our Medium page to keep reading more exciting stories of the founders that are making the Atlanta startup scene shine bright. Share this story and stay tuned at!